Donegal sweating on McGee suspension
Donegal manager Jim McGuinness will have to wait until tonight (Thursday) to know if he is going to have his full-back Neil McGee for Saturday night's Dr. McKenna Cup clash with Fermanagh, in Ballybofey. (Throw in 7 pm)
McGee picked up a straight red card in last Sunday's game with Tyrone in Edendork, and was subsequently handed down the automatic four week ban by the Ulster Council.
The sending off - a late shoulder charge on Tyrone's Brian McGuigan in the opening minutes of the second half - seemed harsh at the time. However, Cavan referee Joe McQuillan, after consulting with one of his linesmen flashed a red card.
After reviewing video evidence of the incident Donegal officials took the decision to appeal the sending off and after being notified of the automatic four week ban by the Ulster Council on Tuesday morning they immediately lodged their appeal.
Donegal manager Jim McGuinness was adamant in the immediate aftermath of the game that the sending off was harsh and that they would be contesting the red card.
It is understood that McGee has been reported for striking in the referee's report.
First choice full-back in recent seasons Neil McGee is a vital cog in the Donegal armoury and captained the team for the opening two games in the Dr. McKenna Cup.
Given the injury crisis currently afflicting the Donegal squad and the threadbare panel manager McGuinness is working off and with the Allianz National Football League due to start on Saturday week, Donegal officials will be pinning their hopes on having the suspension overturned.
County chairman P. J. McGowan and secretary Aodh Mairtin O'Fearraigh are due to travel to Armagh with Neil McGee for tonight's hearing.
McGuinness will most definitely be hoping to see his full-back exonerated. With a depleted squad and only two fit substitutes for last Sunday's game, the last thing McGuinness wants is to have to plan without McGee for Saturday night's game and a crack at retaining the trophy that Donegal have won for the last two seasons.
With Naomh Conaill pair Leo McLoone and Dermot Molloy and Daniel McLaughlin, St. Michael's, club tied this weekend due to Sunday's U-21 final, McGuinness is going to have to find three replacements from the side that suffered that narrow 1-13 to 0-13 defeat to the Red Hands.
With no further request being made to Ulster for any further additions to the panel McGuinness will be hoping that at least Barry Dunnion, David Walsh and Ryan Bradley will have shaken off the opening day knocks they picked up against UUJ.
If not with Johnny Bonner, Neil Gallagher, Michael Hegarty, Marty Boyle and Kealan McFadden - who have yet to make an appearance - still on the treatment table McGuinness may have a real problem come Saturday evening. Especially as county secretary Aodh Mairtin O'Fearraigh confirmed earlier in the week that Donegal would be making no further requests to the Ulster Council to add additional names to the 26 man panel furnished already to the provincial body.
Rory Kavanagh is also a worry as he picked up a knock in last Sunday's game and was substituted in the second half, but it was thought his substitution was more precautionary and the big St. Eunan's man should be fit to take his place.
Fermanagh opened their campaign last weekend with a 0-15 to 1-12 draw with Jordanstown, in Cavan on Sunday evening. A late Hugh Bradley point earned the Erne County a share of the points.
The Ernesiders, like Donegal, have a new manager with former minor and U-21 boss John O'Neill taking over from Malachy O'Rourke. They were due to play Tyrone last night in Enniskillen.
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